Drugs and Alcohol

Parents and guardians play an important role in preventing drug and alcohol abuse. By educating children from a young age, we can prepare and empower them to make the right decisions. Some young people will experiment with or abuse alcohol and drugs.

You may not be able to prevent your child from using drugs and alcohol. If this is the case, you may wish to educate your children on being responsible and safe if they are going to experiment with substances.


Talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol.

It is important to remain open when talking to your child about drugs and alcohol. It helps to try to understand that their point of view may be very different from yours. Some tips include:

  • Avoid lecturing your child; open discussions are more helpful
  • Be objective when discussing drugs and alcohol
    • Explain the pros and cons
    • Avoid exaggerating the dangers; your child may see through this and not trust your opinions
  • Listen; let your child talk and encourage them to ask questions and share their thoughts
  • Don't expect them to agree with everything you say

There are signs and indicators that may lead you to suspect your child is using drugs. Watch for them and do not be afraid to ask. If you are uncertain, talk to a doctor to get more information.

General signs include:

  • Changes in mood or behaviour
  • Changes in friends
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Physical signs like changes in weight or red or watery eyes
  • Keeping secrets regarding their friends and where they are going
  • A loss of interest in family, friends or hobbies
  • Paraphernalia (rolling papers, pipes, bongs, lighters, needles, etc.)

How do you know if your child is using drugs or alcohol

Different substances come with different signs of abuse. The Drug Guide for Parents produced by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids provides a great deal of information on common substances and the associated signs and dangers.

Finally, take the time to look for signs around your house that drugs are being used. Search for things that may have been use to take drugs. Examples include dime bags, spoons with scorch marks, lighters, and syringe caps. Keep track of and count your own prescription medications.



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